Assault and Battery in Massachusetts
An assault and battery is a misdemeanor offense in Massachusetts that is prosecuted aggressively and taken seriously by the courts. By statute, under G.L. c. 265 § 13A, a simple assault and battery upon another person is made a crime. An assault and battery is defined as the intentional and unjustified use of force upon the person of another however slight, or the intentional doing of a wanton or grossly negligent act causing personal injury to another. If convicted, a defendant may be punished by a sentence of up to 2 years in a house of correction of by a fine of up to $1,000.
Massachusetts recognizes two different theories of assault and battery consisting of “Intentional Assault and Battery” and “Reckless Assault and Battery.” Intentional assault and battery requires intentional and unjustified use of force on the person of another, slight, and reckless assault and battery requires a willful, wanton, and reckless act that results in physical injury to another.
Intentional Assault and Battery
In order for a defendant to be convicted of an intentional assault and battery, the prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant must have touched the person;
- The defendant must have intended to touch that person;
- The touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the person, or was done without that person’s consent.
Intent for purposes of assault and battery means that a defendant consciously and deliberately intended the touching to occur, and that the touching was not merely accidental or negligent. Therefore, the prosecutor is not required to prove that a defendant specifically intended to cause injury to an alleged victim.
Reckless Assault and Battery
In order for a defendant to be found guilty of assault and battery by reckless conduct in Massachusetts, the prosecutor must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant intentionally engaged in action which caused bodily injury to the alleged victim. The injury caused by the defendant must be serious enough to interfere with the person’s health or comfort. In other words, actions which only cause momentary discomfort are not enough;
- The defendant’s actions amounted to reckless conduct. It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that a defendant acted negligently in a way that a reasonably careful person would not. It must be shown that the defendant’s actions went beyond ordinary negligence and amounted to recklessness. The defendant acted recklessly if he or she knew, or should have known, that such actions were very likely to cause substantial harm to another person, but he or she still ran that risk and engaged in the action anyway. Here, a defendant must have intended his or her acts which resulted in the touching rather than such acts occurring merely by accident.
Contact the Law Office of Rachel Matos
The Law office of Rachel Matos is a extensive experience of defending clients accused of the crime of assault and battery in Massachusetts. Contact the Law Office of Rachel Matos at (508) 386-9094 or email us today!